June 18, 2011 § Leave a comment
Six years ago, Intuit, a tax preparation software company, created an interactive feedback community called Inner Circle. The site was created to engage their customers and provide a platform where they could give comments and feedback about products and services. In the beginning, Intuit asked its customers for feedback via the customer community program on TurboTax, which was basically an email. It was apparent there was a more effective way to get customer feedback; it took almost a year, but Intuit finally got The Inner Circle up and running. It featured a host of social channels for customers to interact with including a blog, user forums, an idea exchange center, and poll and survey questions. Intuit has many customers that are willing to give feedback on its products and services and they found an effective and interactive way to obtain the information. They listen and monitor the site making changes to their products and services as they see fit.
Issues at Stake for Intuit:
One of the issues at stake for Intuit is the amount of customer response they would have received. They could have put a lot of time and money into creating the site and then received little or no customer response and feedback. Luckily, this was not the case and they received a lot of customer feedback. However, an issue with receiving lot of customer feedback could be that there would be many negative responses. A site with mostly negative responses could give the impression that purchasing the products or services is a negative experience and could steer potential customers away from their products. However, Intuit used listening and monitoring to ensure that the site not only had negative but positive comments and concerns as well. They also made sure that any negative feedback that is posted is addressed properly to ensure the problems are solved and that they have happy customers.
Intuit used P.O.S.T. They found out how their customers (people) were using social media and created an objective, which was listening and monitoring customer feedback to improve their products and services. They then created a strategy to develop an interactive social media site dedicated to customer feedback to meet their objective, and used online technology to develop the site.
Pros and Cons of Intuits decision:
There were many positive aspects to Intuit’s campaign. They created a successful platform where customers felt comfortable sharing their feedback and it allowed Inuit to actively listen and monitor for customer feedback. For the campaign to be a success Intuit needs to do more than just listen to the suggestions, they need to implement the good ones. This is something they have begun doing. Intuit has taken 35 of the requests from their site and has implemented them within their products and services. They also share those changes and improvements with their customers via blog posts and webinar. They have created a balance that works for serving the needs of not only the external community but the internal company as well.
One of the negative aspects of the campaign was the claims that the member mix was not a true representative of the larger Turbo Tax customer base. Because the site allowed both external customers and internal company employees to give feedback on the site some customers believed that the majority of people participating were Intuit employees and not true customers. However, as the online community grew the claims slowly dwindled down, until there were no more complaints about the issue. Intuit has also created customer survey questions on the site to ensure they are reaching the right customers with the right information. This has also helped the issue.
My recommendation for revisiting the campaign:
The campaign itself was a success. The only recommendation I would have is to make sure they get their customers the information they need. Creating general information to address everyone is not a way to connect with its customers individually. They need to make sure they are addressing each of their customers concerns and that they are creating a personal and practical relationship with each of them.